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Howard's Commentary - Well done, Wheeling

Pretty proud of my hometown in the wake of last week's public forum on Wheeling's Human Rights Ordinance.

The national political scene has been full of tweets, rants, reposts and protests. Blood- pressure-raising, sometimes mouth-foamingly-rabid, lack of civility have been the hallmark of much debate.

But in Wheeling, over 350 people gathered to express opinions on one of the most hot button issues of them all (expanding human rights to include sexual orientation) and did so forcefully but respectfully. With many points of view presented:

Laura Carter, the former executive director of the YWCA in Wheeling, said while some interpret the amendment to the ordinance as "overstepping," she said it's simply a clear message of care issued from the city of Wheeling to its residents.

David Miller, who said he's experienced discrimination firsthand, said this process and discussion have already made him feel welcome.

Wheeling resident David Wright called the proposed ordinance an "unlawful act" that he believes violates the First Amendment. (Intelligencer.com 11-30-16, side photo also from same source)

So, here's why I'm proud

  • There was a large turnout with disparate views exercising their right to petition government leaders.
  • Everyone conducted themselves civilly--which often is not the case
  • Supporters of the proposal outnumbered critics--which also is often not the case.

The amendments will be voted on soon by Wheeling Council, but Mayor Glenn Elliot tells me his informal nose count shows them being approved.

Which is my final reason for being proud of my hometown. It's willing to tackle the controversial issues because it's the right thing to do.

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Categories: Commentary